Economic Development News

Chamber hosts career fair for DST Systems employees
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
By: Shaun Sappenfield

DST Systems, Inc., a global provider of technology-based solutions, recently announced its decision to close their Jefferson City office located in the Monroe Bluffs Executive Center on December 31 of this year.  The closure will impact 70 individuals, all possessing high-demand skill sets within the field of information technology.  In a press release provided by DST Systems, the company pointed to the following reasons for their decision to close their Jefferson City office - “reductions are a function of ongoing efforts to create and maintain sustainable business reflective of the current and anticipated market conditions.”  A statement heard all too often since the 2008 financial crisis in which we are still climbing back out of today.  

 In light of this news, the Chamber refocused their ongoing business attraction and retention efforts to “retention mode” by organizing a career fair for local employees impacted by DST Systems’ decision.  Two factors drove the Chamber’s quick response - the need to assist dislocated employees in finding new employment and retaining DST’s talent pool before they are lured away from our business community. 

Once the closure announcement was officially confirmed by DST’s public relation division, the Chamber began reaching out to local information technology companies and others, to gather feedback on the idea of holding a career fair specifically for DST employees.  After receiving feedback from several employers, the Chamber quickly secured space at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and began marketing the opportunity to the business community and within days secured the attendance of twenty-five businesses for the career fair. 

“A special thanks to the Chamber for setting up the DST Job Fair so quickly,” said Jill Hansen, Senior Vice President, Manager Information Systems for Central Technology Systems.  “It allowed us the opportunity to be introduced to some real quality prospects for employment before this great local talent leaves the community.  We really hope to be able to hire some of them in the very near future.”

The DST Career Fair held October 29 was met with enthusiasm from both local employers and DST employees.  The initial feedback from employers was extremely encouraging for chamber staff.  Some employers were scheduling interviews on the spot, while other were collecting resumes to screen for specific skill sets based on current and future job opportunities with their companies. 

Overall, our community has fared well in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and yes we’ve experienced our share of layoffs in both the private and public sectors and most notably the closure of RR Donnelley in 2013.  But, Cole County’s unemployment rate currently stands at 4.9% for the month of September (2014), which is a sign that employers continue to add jobs and have the ability to absorb those who want to re-enter the workforce. 

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